MIKE Di Meglio has admitted his elation after winning his first race in the Grand Prix paddock since 2008, but revealed it could have easily gone the other way.
The former 125GP World Champion, whose last victory in the MotoGP arena before today’s Red Bull Ring MotoE triumph came at Phillip Island during his title-winning season over a decade ago, watched as early challengers skittled out of contention in the wet conditions in Austria this morning.
After Eric Granado binned his Avintia Esponsorama machine and lost the lead, Di Meglio took over and saw off charges from Xavier Simeon as well as Hector Garzo, with the latter also crashing out while gaining on the EG 0,0 Marc VDS man.
But the Frenchman eventually held off Belgian Simeon to scoop his first series win and take the championship lead from Niki Tuuli, momentum which ne knows he needs to carry to Misano next month.
“Five minutes before we were thinking we go with slicks with mixed conditions,” Di Meglio admitted. “But after we saw rainy conditions with the two warmup laps I feel really comfortable with my bike.
“I know Granado was very fast in Jerez and when I saw him pass me I thought ‘okay, try and follow him’ to put some pressure on him. When he crashed, I saw I had a little gap from the other guy.
“On the last lap I saw on the big screen that Garzo was still behind me. At turn four I braked very late because I knew I was strong there. My front was jumping around and I nearly went out of the track – I didn’t know if he crashed or go straight.
“It was a perfect weekend for us. I’m really happy for the team – we make an incredible race and we need to continue like that.”
*Image: Marc VDS